Feb 22, 2010
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Sports Direct plans to oppose Blacks' fundraising

Feb 22, 2010

LONDON, Feb 22 (Reuters) - British sportswear retailer Sports Direct (SPD.L) plans to oppose a fundraising by outdoor goods chain Blacks Leisure (BSLA.L), if it can resolve a dispute over the ownership of shares in Blacks and another rival retailer.

The Aston Villa Home Kit 2009/2010 at Sports Direct - Photo: www.sportsdirect.com

Sports Direct, controlled by Newcastle United soccer club owner Mike Ashley, is in a dispute with collapsed bank Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Ltd (KSF) and its administrator Ernst & Young over the ownership of shares in Blacks and JD Sports Fashion Plc (JD.L).

Sports Direct said on Monday 22 February it proposed to resolve the dispute by acquiring any interest held by KSF in 12.15 million shares in Blacks and 5.78 million shares in JD.

It did not say how much it was proposing to pay to end the row, which covers stakes of over 20 percent in Blacks and over 10 percent in JD, according to Reuters data.

"If such rights in the shares are acquired, (Sports Direct) currently intends to vote against the resolutions proposed by Blacks at its general meeting convened for 24 February," Sports Direct said in a statement.

Blacks, which runs the Blacks Outdoor and Millets chains, is holding the meeting to vote on its plans to raise 22 million pounds in a placing and open offer of shares. It is hoping to raise the money to accelerate a recovery plan.

Britain's sporting goods retailers have a history of holding strategic stakes in one another, with Sports Direct among the most active investors in its rivals.

Sports Direct had no further comment, while Blacks and Ernst & Young were not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Mark Potter; Editing by David Holmes)

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